MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University hockey team remained unbeaten in its last 16 meetings with the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday (Nov. 24) night from the Berry Events Center. The Wildcats and Nanooks skated to a 2-2 tie with NMU earning the extra Central Collegiate Hockey Association point with a 2-0 shootout win at the end of the overtime period.
“It was a gutty performance tonight,” NMU coach Walt Kyle sad. “Last night we’re down by two and get the win and tonight we’re down by one and end up getting a tie.”
The two teams played in overtime for the second night in a row as NMU defeated UAF 4-3 after scoring 52 seconds into the frame on Friday. Northern is now 5-6-3 overall and 2-5-3-1 in the CCHA. UAF is 6-5-3 and 4-4-2 in conference play.
“I like the way we came out and played early and then it seemed like we backed up and there was a little apprehension,” Kyle added. “They did a great job coming at us and we just couldn’t quite get into the flow of things because we were changing lines and playing with a short bench.”
The ‘Cats trailed 2-1 entering the third period before sophomore forward Reed Seckel tied up the game with a tip in on a shot off the stick of sophomore defenseman Mitch Jones. Junior forward Erik Higby won the faceoff back to Jones for the second assist.
Junior goaltender Jared Coreau made 34 saves in the game, including 12 in the third period and three in the overtime. He stopped Andy Taranto on a short-handed breakaway in the third and stopped both chances in the shootout.
Jones was the first shooter for NMU in the shootout. He used a double move to get the puck past UAF goaltender John Keeney. Freshman Ryan Aynsley scored the second shootout chance as he wristed a shot over Keeney’s blocker. It was NMU’s first shootout win in its third chance this season and the first time the ‘Cats capitalized on a shootout chance.
“Coreau was good tonight and the two guys in the shootout did a great job,” Kyle said.
Junior forward Stephan Vigier opened the game’s scoring with his third of the season 6:09 into the first. Seckel fed Vigier out front and senior defenseman Scott Macaulay also assisted on the goal.
The Nanooks answered with two goals in the first. Nolan Kaiser scored less than a minute later (6:57) and Tyler Morley scored 12:35 into the first for the 2-1 lead.
Keeney finished the game with 29 saves and is 2-2-1 on the season.
NMU took a season-low two minor penalties. UAF had seven penalties for 25 minutes and killed off a five-minute major as NMU was 1-for-6 on the man advantage. The Nanooks were 1-for-2 on the power play.
UAF outshot NMU 36-31. It was the second time this season NMU had over 30 shots.
The two teams meet in Fairbanks on Jan. 25-26 for the second series of the season.
Saturday’s game will be replayed on NMU TV13’s high definition channel at 4 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 27).
NMU travels to Kalamazoo next weekend (Nov. 29-Dec. 1) for a meeting with the Western Michigan Broncos. The ‘Cats play their next home game on Tuesday, Dec. 4 against Michigan Tech.
Game Notes: Vigier has 18 career goals…Seckel has 13 career goals…The last time NMU lost to Alaska in Marquette was Feb. 5, 2005…The last time NMU lost to Alaska was Nov. 30, 2007…The last time NMU won a shootout was Feb. 3, 2012 over Ferris State…Attendance was 1,959 at the Berry Events Center
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